Scott Brown: Wrong on the Merits AND The Politics of Clean Energy
by Lowell Feld NRDC Action Fund, Tue Jun 29, 2010 at 11:20:01 AM EDT
Two weeks ago, Senator Scott Brown (R-Massachusetts) met with President Obama and "told him he would not support a cap-and-trade plan or carbon fee to limit greenhouse gas emissions." In the Boston Globe, Brown is quoted as expressing how "excited" he is "about working with [Obama] in a bipartisan manner to come up with a comprehensive energy plan."
Brown's not so excited, however, that he would support - in his words - "a national energy tax or cap-and-trade proposal." The problem, of course, is that without some sort of pricing of carbon and other fossil fuel "externalities" like carbon pollution, it's extremely unlikely that we will ever achieve any of our objectives - national security, economic, environmental, you name it. Does Scott Brown understand that? Does he care?
Aside from being wrong on the substance of this issue, perhaps Brown - a Republican up for reelection in an overwhelmingly Democratic state in just 28 months - might care about the polling? In particular, Brown might want to examine these poll results from Public Policy Polling.
- "Support for Clean Energy Job Creation. 80% of voters in Massachusetts"
- "65% of voters in Massachusetts...would like to see the federal government invest more in clean energy technology"
- "76% in Massachusetts... think there should be stricter regulation of corporate polluters."
- "The recent incident associated with offshore drilling has also increased public support for a comprehensive solution to the country's energy issues. 66% of folks in Massachusetts... say that the spill makes them more supportive of the proposal being considered in Congress right now."
What exactly about these poll results does Scott Brown not understand? Does Brown have any desire to be reelected in 2010, or does he prefer to go down fighting - for his tea party base?
Sadly, it appears right now that Brown is opting for the latter. In doing so, Brown is not only taking an egregiously wrong position based on the merits of climate science and basic economics, he's not even being a smart politician from a purely self-interested perspective. If that continues, it could lead to an exceedingly brief stay in the U.S. Senate for Sen. Brown, at least if 65%-80% of Massachusetts residents have anything to say about it!
UPDATE: Check out this editorial by GreatPoint Energy executive vice president Daniel P. Goldman, urging Sen. Brown "and the rest of the New England delegation to support strong national energy and climate policy and take the Massachusetts experience to the rest of the nation and speed our transition to a clean energy economy."